How Running Changed the Way I Feel About My Body, For the Better!

I was never an athletic child, I hated doing PE, never went in for sports and in fact the idea of going outside even filled me with dread.

Then we hosted the 2012 Olympics and all of a sudden I became interested – to the point in which I started running. Let’s be honest, I wanted the shiny medals, but I also wanted to see how far I could push my body and what I could get it to achieve.

asics

My affair with running ended abruptly after a series of running injuries that I managed to stretch and yoga out and ultimately ignore until I couldn’t ignore them any more. But this isn’t about that (and if you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ll already know the back story). This is about how I now realise how much impact running and fitness had on the way I perceive my body and how I still feel about it.

I’ll start with how it affected my relationship with food. Before I started running I had never really considered food as fuel. Of course I knew it was, but I didn’t ever look at it in a clinical way. I feel like I began to see how different foods would benefit me in different ways, partially in how it would enable me to endure whichever activity I was participating in that day, but also how it could help me recover from those activities too. Once I started thinking this way, I was able to adapt this into creating healthy and useful meals so that it wasn’t all boring ‘healthy’ foods, but also things I looked forward to eating.

I posted in a recent article about how wearing sports bras affected how I felt about my small chest size, but wearing sports clothing also affected how I felt about my body all over. I had never liked the way my stomach looked when I sat down – blobby and rolly and much better if I was standing – and sure, eating well and working out makes a difference to that, but in turn because I knew I was working hard to be healthy and fit my opinion of how my body looked changed. All of a sudden I was proud of each part of my body for enduring what I was putting it through. Because my muscles, for the most part, were keeping up with the demand I was asking of it, I didn’t see my body in a negative light any more – my bum wasn’t shaped any better, my legs weren’t more shapely, my stomach wasn’t more toned – BUT I knew everything was doing its job. I was happy.

lexie3

Even though I have stopped being active in the same ways I was back then, due to injury, I still have most of that mentality. Yes I get a bit fed up if I start to feel bloated, but I know weight is relative, I know my body is strong and relatively healthy – and I know it’s working for me.

 

I’d never felt this way about my body until I started being regularly active, and I really enjoyed the way it made me feel about myself. This isn’t something I’ve forgotten since I’ve become more sedentary, either. I remember how I felt and I don’t lament over it. I’m so pleased I went through this phase, and who knows, it might rear its head again – but until then I’m delighted with the mindset it brought with it.

Here’s to feeling fit, healthy and happy with myself.

I Love Lena

I’ve made no secret of how much I love Lena Dunham, but now I love her a little teeny bit more. Yesterday, whilst at work taking a break, I scrolled through my instagram and saw this photo:

I’m sad to say my first thought was ‘woah, why did she post that up?’. Quickly followed by ‘why shouldn’t she post that up?’ and then ‘I wish I had half the body confidence Lena has.’

This girl has so much body confidence. And it’s mainly because she’s so comfortable in her body that it doesn’t occur to her to be unconfident. The internet has exploded with comments on this photo and articles about her posting it up. I haven’t read any of it, mainly because I think some of it will make me angry.

A woman posted a photo of herself in a bra and pants – hold the front page! People are only talking about it because she’s not a classic size or shape. If it was a photo of a Victoria’s Secret model we’d just scroll past. It’s sad that this kind of amazing self-confidence is so unusual. It’s wonderful that she’s, once again, breaking the mould.

I know I’m just adding to the discussion by posting this, but I don’t care. People should see this photo of Lena looking gorgeous, and confident, and sexy and every inch Lena.